Foundation degrees

Course Information

Livestock in Sustainable Agriculture (15)

Module summary

Module code: AGRI1138
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): John Morton



This course provides an introduction to the role of livestock production in developing countries, including its contributions to the livelihoods of the poor, and its contributions to cropping and sustainable land-use. It will also introduce some methodologies for investigating interactions between livestock, livelihoods and the environment.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be to:
1. recognise the importance of different livestock species for different categories of rural and urban people, including the multiple objectives of livestock keeping;
2. deconstruct the forces driving changes in livestock production and trade, particularly with regard to poor livestock-keepers;
3. recognise the ways of classifying livestock production systems, and apply this to real-world examples;
4. critically discuss the major issues in the development of grazing, mixed-farming and landless livestock production systems and identify major livestock-environment interactions in a given system, the forces driving them, and strategies to mitigate them;
5. demonstrate the use of appropriate practical, participatory approaches to understanding and improving livestock production systems and apply these in a real-world context;
6. reflect on current debates on the provision of livestock services and livestock infrastructure, and the appropriate roles of the state therein.

Indicative content

• Livestock, Poverty and Livelihoods: the multiple contributions of livestock of different species to the livelihoods of developing country farmers, including the poor, and the implications of these multiple objectives, compared with single-output commercial systems, for livestock development and poverty eradication. Importance of labour issues, gender issues and indigenous knowledge in livestock development
• Trade in Livestock Products: rising global demand for livestock products – the “Livestock Revolution” - and its implications, especially for poor livestock-keepers. Veterinary and sanitary barriers to trade. Livestock marketing patterns at local, national and regional levels. Risk, transaction costs and profits in livestock marketing.
• Classification of Livestock Systems: introduction to classifications of livestock production systems and overviews of representative types.
• Livestock and the environment: positive and negative impacts of livestock production on the environment; the role of policy and institutional factors in exacerbating or mitigating these impacts. Introduction to methods for monitoring livestock-related environmental impacts and technologies for mitigating them.
• Participation in Livestock Research and Development: concepts of participation, matching degrees of participation with development objectives; practical tools for understanding livestock systems; issues in participatory research and communication of livestock knowledge.
• Government and donor policies towards livestock development: export promotion, poverty eradication, and environmental protection as policy objectives. Livestock service provision (veterinary services, extension, marketing, infrastructure provision) and its reforms; appropriate roles for government.

Teaching and learning activity

The principles of conservation ecology will be presented through a series of lectures to illustrate appropriate techniques for sampling, data analysis and modelling. Lectures will be supported by case-study seminars.

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)

Contact Hours
lectures 48
practical sessions
Private Study 60
Assignments: course work and other forms of assessment
coursework 40
laboratory work
examinations 2


Essay - 50%
Up to 3500 words.
Specific topic relevant to course
(2, 4, 5, 6)

Written Exam - 50%
2 hour examination
(2, 4, 5, 6)

Minimum pass mark - 50%